Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-n6p7q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-24T15:59:57.278Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Science as a Persuasion Game: An Inferentialist Approach*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2012


Scientific research is reconstructed as a language game along the lines of Robert Brandom's inferentialism. Researchers are assumed to aim at persuading their colleagues of the validity of some claims. The assertions each scientist is allowed or committed to make depend on her previous claims and on the inferential norms of her research community. A classification of the most relevant types of inferential rules governing such a game is offered, and some ways in which this inferentialist approach can be used for assessing scientific knowledge and practices are explored. Some similarities and differences with a game-theoretic analysis are discussed.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Bicchieri, Christina. 1988. “Methodological Rules as Conventions,” Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 18: 477–95.Google Scholar
Blackmore, Susan. 2000. The Meme Machine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Blais, M. J. 1987. “Epistemic Tit-for-Tat,” Journal of Philosophy, 84: 363–75.Google Scholar
Brandom, Robert. 1994. Making It Explicit. Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Brandom, Robert. 2000. Articulating Reasons. An Introduction to Inferentialism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Brennan, Geoffrey, and James, Buchanan. 1985. The Reason of Rules. Constitutional Political Economy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Cartwright, Nancy. 1999. The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Cole, Stephen. 1992. Making Science: Between Nature and Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Feyerabend, Paul. 1975. Against Method. London: NLB.Google Scholar
Goldman, Alvin I. 1999. Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Goldman, Alvin I., and Moshe, Shaked. 1991. “An Economic Model of Scientific Activity and Truth Acquisition,” Philosophical Studies, 63: 3155.Google Scholar
Jarvie, Ian. 2001. The Constitution of Science, Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi.Google Scholar
Kitcher, Philip. 1993. The Advancement of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Koppl, Roger. 2006. Epistemic Systems. Episteme 2 (2): 91106.Google Scholar
Koppl, Roger, and Langlois, Richard N.. 2001. “Organizations and Language Games,” Journal of Management and Governance, 5: 287305.Google Scholar
Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Kuhn, Thomas S. 1977. “Objectivity, Value Judgments, and Theory Choice,” in The Essential Tension. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Lewis, David. 1969. Convention. A Philosophical Study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Lewis, David. 1979. “Scorekeeping in a Language Game,” Journal of Philosophical Logic, 8: 339359.Google Scholar
Luetge, Christoph. 2004. “Economics in Philosophy of Science: A Dismal Contribution?,” Synthese, 140: 279305.Google Scholar
Mäki, Uskali. 2004. “Economic Epistemology: Hopes and Horrors,” Episteme 1 (3): 211222.Google Scholar
Nelson, Richard. 2002. “Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2: 2346.Google Scholar
Nickles, Thomas. 2002. “From Copernicus to Ptolemy: Inconsistency and Method,” in Meheus, Joke (ed.), Inconsistency in Science. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 133.Google Scholar
Parikh, Prashant. 2001. The Use of Language. Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
Rabin, Matthew. 1993. Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics, The American Economic Review, 83: 12811302.Google Scholar
Rubinstein, Ariel. 2000. Economics and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sen, Amartya. 1997. “Maximization and the Act of Choice,” Econometrica, 65: 745–79.Google Scholar
Sperber, Daniel. 1996. Explaining Culture. A Naturalistic Approach. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Sugden, Robert. 2000. “The motivating Power of Expectations,” in Nida-Rümelin, Julian and Spohn, Wolfgang (eds.), Rationality, Rules, and Structure. Dordrecth: Kluwer, 103130.Google Scholar
Vromen, Jack. 1995. Economic Evolution. An Inquiry into the Foundations of the New Institutional Economics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophical Investigations, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Bonilla, Jesús P. Zamora 2002. “Scientific Inference and the Pursuit of Fame: A Contractarian Approach,” Philosophy of Science, 69: 300323.Google Scholar
Bonilla, Jesús P. Zamora (forthcoming a). “Science Studies and the Theory of Games,” Perspectives on Science.Google Scholar
Bonilla, Jesús P. Zamora (forthcoming b). “Methodology and the Constitution of Science: A Game Theoretic Approach,” in Albert, Max, Schmidtchen, Dieter and Voigt, Stefan (eds.), Scientific Competition. Conferences on New Political Economy 24, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar